How to advertise online
With the advent of the Internet, advertising has taken a sharp turn from TV spots and paper flyers to ad campaigns on websites, link trades, e-mail marketing and now social networking. There are several ways to advertise effectively and cheaply online, and businesses are fighting to be number one when it comes to brand loyalty and their high-value customers. While Internet advertising may seem as simple as slapping up a banner ad on the home page of your website, it actually takes a bit more know-how and research into your customer's browsing habits and preferences to advertise memorably online.
Online advertising starts with paying attention to your customers. If you can afford it and have the time, hold focus groups with target demographics. What are they looking for on your website? How do they shop? What sort of questions are they asking about your products? Once you find the answers, this is when you can play with certain types of marketing vehicles and find what works best for your branding and business needs.
Web Advertising and Your Business
Consider a few things before creating ads or e-mails and starting your Internet marketing campaign:
- Consider your wording. You only have a certain amount of time to catch your customer's attention before they click away from your site—online customers, upon average, spend less than five seconds on a page unless their attention is caught immediately. Using words such as "how to," "see price," "great deal," or mentioning price points such as "up to 70% off" can catch their attention and keep them interested in what you have to say.
- Use colors that work with your customers' browsers and are pleasing to the eye. Try to match your website colors as much as possible to minimize any jarring or unpleasant effects which may turn your customers away.
- Use language that will resonate with your customers. When crafting an e-mail, don't use words that may be off-putting or regionally foreign; this may have your customers skipping over what you have to say. Also, avoid big blocks of text. Short, pithy sentences with calls to action and precise information are the way to go for advertising e-mails.
- Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) is a great way to get your brand all over the Web in a cheap, timely manner. PPC works because the advertiser only pays the host when the ad is clicked on. Search engines like Google or Yahoo will host your ad (often called a "sponsored result") on search engine pages or on different websites, catching online customers' eyes and bringing them to your site.
- You can also advertise organically by asking for a link or ad exchange with similar businesses, vendors or partners. This works by you hosting their ad on your site, and having them host yours on theirs.
Internet marketing is a phenomenon that can drive customers to your site and toward your products effectively without spending much money at all. Consider your needs before choosing a marketing method, and ensure you are paying attention to what your customers want in order to maximize your business's marketing potential.